The challenges facing Iraq War veterans often require assistance when returning to civilian life. There are benefits for vets you may not know about through programs offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and also through private organizations.
Vets returning from the Iraq War can suffer from emotional and physical difficulties as they struggle to regain their normal activities and lives following discharge. Fortunately, there are programs and benefits to help them every step along the way.
Here are seven benefits Iraq War veterans may not know about:
1. Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry — Iraq War veterans may have been exposed to chemical and environmental hazards that threaten their health, from respiratory problems and infectious diseases to body and brain injuries, according to the VA. This registry allows vets to identify changes in their health, discuss them with a doctor, and learn about VA benefits to help.
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2. Gulf War Registry Health Exam — Along with Gulf War vets, this program offered by the VA is also open to soldiers involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The comprehensive health exam is free to eligible vets and has no co-payment. VA health professionals consult with vets about the exams, which are based on veterans’ recollections and not on their military records.
3. Free healthcare — Iraq War veterans can receive five years of free healthcare treatment through the VA for conditions related to their service and free one-time dental care within 180 days after leaving active duty, according to Vets National. VA healthcare can be used with other health insurance, including Medicare, the VA notes.
4. Vets4Vets — Established to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans deal with the psychological trauma of war, Vets4Vets has groups across the nation holding weekend workshops for free. Vets discuss their experiences and hardships with other vets.
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5. Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation — Therapeutic retreats in Montana help wounded warriors with traumatic injuries enjoy recreational activities. The foundation offers transportation to the retreat along with accommodations, meals, and other amenities.
6. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America — The IAVA focuses on community awareness and assistance for veterans and their families with health, education, and employment programs. Vets can join the nonprofit organization for free and enjoy programs as well as giveaways.
7. Aid and Attendance program — Iraq War vets can take advantage of many benefits offered to all veterans through the VA. The Aid and Attendance program assists vets and their families in covering the costs of long-term care and assisted living programs, MilitaryBenefits points out.
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